Why every election gets its own crisis

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Shared November 5, 2018

Trump’s fear mongering about a migrant caravan is a perfect example of how politicians’ exploit last-minute news stories to try to distract voters before a big election.

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October is a tense month in American in politics. The closer a political campaign gets to election day, the more vulnerable it is to an “October Surprise” -- a late-breaking scandal or controversy that influences voters in the final days of an election.

“October Surprises” are typically thought of as unexpected events that surprise both sides of an election -- natural disasters, terrorist attacks, etc.. But more recently, it's come to describe an intentional campaign strategy, wherein political operatives exploit late-breaking news stories to try to damage their opponents at the last-minute.

Trump’s fixation on the migrant caravan traveling to the United States is a clear example of that strategy -- an attempt to shift the media’s attention away from issues like health care by fear mongering about immigrants.

It’s a cheap political ploy, and many news networks have recognized it as such. The problem is: there’s no great way to fight it.

On Strikethrough, Vox producer Carlos Maza explores the challenges facing the news media in the age of Trump. Follow Carlos on Facebook for more: https://www.facebook.com/CarlosMazaVox

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